Wigilia / Christmas Eve

The word for Christmas Eve in Polish is Wigilia / Wigilia Bożego Narodzenia.

wigilia christmas eve

Christmas Eve is not an official public holiday in Poland but is one of the most important dates of the year for many Poles. Although it is now usually done some time before Christmas trees are traditionally decorated on this day. And pretty much every family in Poland will have a special meat-free dinner consisting of several, possibly twelve, Polish dishes, including in most families: ‘barszcz’ (beetroot soup) or wild mushroom soup, ‘uszka’ (dumplings stuffed with wild mushrooms), fried fish (traditionally carp), sauerkraut and mushroom ‘pierogi’ (dumplings), ‘Gołąbki’ stuffed cabbage rolls, braised sauerkraut, rollmop herrings, as well as ‘piernik’ (Polish gingerbread), ‘makowiec’ (Poppy seed cake), and fruit, washed down with ‘kompot’ (dried fruit compote). Many families also prepare an extra seat for the possible arrival of an unexpected guest. Traditionally an ‘oplatek‘ (Christmas wafer), which is shared with family and friends at the meal. Many Poles will also attend midnight mass at a nearby church.

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